Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to add to Wednesday’s record high close

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BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures rose Thursday, one day after the 30-stock average hit an intraday all-time high in a volatile session and closed at a record. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq on Wednesday were unable to hold on to their all-time intraday highs and closed slightly lower. (CNBC)

* Cramer says the stock market is on a 'highway to the danger zone' (CNBC)

Cannabis stocks were soaring as Reddit traders jumped in as they did recently with GameStop. Tilray shares surged nearly 51% on Wednesday, pushing the stock to a year-to-date gain of more than 670%. Tilary added another 10% in Thursday's premarket. (CNBC)

Disney (DIS) leads the list of major companies reporting quarterly results after Thursday's closing bell. Before the market opening, PepsiCo (PEP) reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.47 per share, a penny better than estimates. Revenue rose 8.8% to $22.46 billion, also exceeding expectations. PepsiCo shares fell slightly in the premarket. (CNBC)

Uber (UBER) shares dropped 4% in Thursday's premarket, the morning after the company reported a smaller-than-expected loss of 54 cents per share in the fourth quarter. However, revenue fell 16% to a lower-than-expected $3.17 billion. Uber's ride-hailing business slowly recovered from the pandemic, while its delivery business boomed. (CNBC)

The Labor Department reported Thursday morning 793,000 new filings for unemployment benefits for last week. That was down from the upwardly revised 812,000 the previous week but higher than estimates. (CNBC)

* Fed Chair Powell says rates will stay low for a while, citing bleak jobs picture (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

House managers on Thursday are pressing the case against former President Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial. Trump's lawyers are expected to launch their defense by the end of the week. Chilling security video of last month's deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, including scenes of rioters searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence, was introduced Wednesday. (AP)

* 6 takeaways from Day 2 of Trump's impeachment trial (USA Today)

A special online edition of the CNBC All-America Economic Survey focusing on the Biden agenda finds his approval rating at a sky-high 62%, beating the first presidential ratings of former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Trump. In fact, Biden's initial rating is 18 points higher than Trump's.

Biden had his first call as president with Xi Jinping, pressing the Chinese leader about trade and Beijing's crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong as well as other human rights concerns. The two leaders spoke Wednesday just hours after Biden announced plans for a Pentagon China task force. (AP & CNBC)

* Tencent executive held by China over links to corruption case (WSJ)

The White House has been reaching out to executives in several industries to rally support for the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan, according to people familiar with the matter. In the past week, administration officials have held at least two calls with leaders from multiple business sectors. (CNBC)

* Poll: One third of U.S. adults are skeptical of Covid vaccines (AP)
* Possible earlier-than-acknowledged Covid cases in China emerge during WHO mission (WSJ)

Automakers across the globe are expected to lose billions of dollars in earnings this year due to a shortage of semiconductor chips, a situation that's expected to worsen as companies battle for supplies of the critical parts. (CNBC)

* Why there's a chip shortage hurting everything from PlayStation 5 to Chevy Malibu (CNBC)

Bank of New York Mellon (BK), the nation's oldest bank, is making the leap into the market for cryptocurrencies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The custody bank said Thursday it will hold, transfer and issue bitcoin and other digital coins on behalf of its asset-management clients.

Dating app company Bumble priced its initial public offering Wednesday evening at $43 per share, raising $2.2 billion and valuing Bumble at around $8 billion. The stock market response Thursday and beyond will act as a litmus test for companies founded by women. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Restaurant Brands (QSR): The parent of Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Hortons missed estimates by 12 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of 53 cents per share, while revenue was slightly above forecasts. Shares fell about 2% pre-market as comparable restaurant sales fell more than expected.

Generac (GNRC): Generac shares rose 3% in pre-market trading after the maker of backup generators beat estimates on the top and bottom lines for its latest quarter, and said it expected net sales growth of 25 to 30 percent this year.

Tempur Sealy (TPX): Shares of the mattress maker surged 12% pre-market after it beat forecasts by 15 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of 67 cents per share. Revenue beat estimates as well, and Tempur Sealy said it expected 2021 sales growth of 15% to 20%.

LabCorp (LH): The medical-laboratory operator reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $10.56 per share, well above the $8.11 consensus estimate, and revenue was above forecasts as well. Its results were boosted by Covid-19 testing, and shares were up 3.6% pre-market.

Molson Coors (TAP): The beer brewer's shares were down 4.5 % pre-market as it reported adjusted quarterly earnings of 40 cents per share, well below the 77-cent consensus estimate. Its results were hurt by ongoing Covid-19 restrictions for restaurants and bars.

Kraft Heinz (KHC): Kraft Heinz shares rose 1.7% pre-market, as it beat estimates on the top and bottom lines for its latest quarter, and also announced the sale of its Planters snacks business to Hormel (HRL) for $3.35 billion in cash.

Sonos (SONO: Sonos shares jumped 17% in pre-market trading, after the maker of high-end smart speakers beat estimates on both the top and bottom lines in its latest quarter. Sonos was helped by stronger margins as no promotions were held during the quarter. It also raised its full-year revenue guidance.

iRobot (IRBT): iRobot earned an adjusted 84 cents per share for the fourth quarter, well above the consensus estimate of 84 cents, with revenue also comfortably topping Wall Street predictions. The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner also gave strong full-year revenue and profit guidance. Shares rose 7.3% in pre-market trading.

Zillow Group (ZG): Zillow beat estimates by 14 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of 41 cents per share, with the operator of real estate websites also scoring a revenue beat. It also gave upbeat revenue guidance, and announced the acquisition of online home-viewing-scheduling platform ShowingTime.com for $500 million in cash. Zillow shares rose 12% in pre-market trading.

Zynga (ZNGA): Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau told Barron's that the mobile game developer is open to an acquisition offer, although it is not actively looking to sell the company. Zynga also reported a 61% jump in the key metric of net bookings during its latest quarter, more than analysts had anticipated.

XPO Logistics (XPO): XPO earned an adjusted $1.19 per share for the fourth quarter, well above the 67-cent consensus estimate. The logistics company also saw revenue above forecasts and gave strong full-year earnings guidance. XPO is benefiting from a pandemic-induced acceleration in shipping activity due to an explosion in online shopping.

Merck (MRK): Merck is in talks with both governments and other drugmakers to help produce already approved Covid-19 vaccines. The drugmaker did not specify which governments or other companies were involved in those talks.

Pinterest (PINS): Pinterest was approached by Microsoft (MSFT) about a possible takeover in recent months, according to people brief on the matter who spoke to the Financial Times. However, the report added that negotiations about a buyout of the image-sharing company were not currently active.

WATERCOOLER

Jeep is "pausing" its Super Bowl ad featuring Bruce Springsteen after it became public Wednesday that the musician had been arrested on drunken-driving charges late last year at the Jersey shore, in Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook. (CNBC)

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban relented Wednesday, and the national anthem will played before home games this season after the NBA reiterated its "longstanding league policy" to include "The Star-Spangled Banner." The league's initial reaction was to let teams do what they want during the pandemic. (AP)